Contest season in Australia sees the tour go to all parts.
Manly Beach in Sydney and Merewether Newcastle hosting QS events.
Gold Coast, Torquay and Margaret River accommodating the CT, for me I’ve just attended the Quik Pro and am currently at Bells.
It’s good for me to see these events to number 1, catch up on equipment trends at the elite competitive level, and to surf different style waves than at my home base Sydney.
Sydney generally is beach breaks and generally short waves, typically with wobble and warbles ending in a close-out.
In these conditions you need to get up and get going quickly to make sure you are in position to hit the best part of the wave before it closes.
No problem for young or fit dudes, but definitely a challenge for the older or unfit or surfer with limited abilities (no offence).
So to Queensland, if you can get a wave on the points you are faced with a different challenge. A longer wave with time to pick your spot out of the top, and maybe a barrel at some point.
I think the big accomplishment here is to connect your turns and keep the flow. If you can do this then you know you have a great board under your feet.
Tour trends at the Goldie seemed to be more of the same. I must say, I didn’t spend much time at the Quik Pro, but it ended up horses for courses with the lightweight Brazil brigade Filipe, Miguel and Adriano, along with Julian Wilson, setting the pace in the small clean Snapper surf.
Boards seemed to be similar to last year, short with a little area nose and tail, slightly lower rocker, plenty of concave.
Kelly tried to surf something alternative but didn’t get a wave in his heat, but by all accounts was weaving some magic during the laydays.
My north coast experience was surfing a variety of points and some clean beach break waves on my version of the shorter trend board.
I find that these style model boards are great to surf and in fact do surf up more than you would expect.
The reason for that is in increasing the nose area a bit, and the tail area, you straighten the rail line thru the plan shape, so this allows you to draw out turns off the bottom and up the face. You get used to the shortness pretty quick and then it is difficult to go back to a longer board.
So that brings me to the point of this blog I guess.
How to transition to a bigger board for bigger waves.
Answer is surf a shorter bigger board also, compared to your current step up board.
I guess I stumbled on this by accident by the fact that in Queensland I was carrying extra weight and was feeling it in crowded waves at D’Bah and the points of Noosa.
I had been surfing longer boards on the north coast NSW and at Noosa to help with the crowd situation, but then not really enjoying the surfing on the wave as much as I would have liked.
My north coast quiver consisted of;
6’4 20½ 2 11/16 T&T 37.42 litres,
6’6 20½ 2⅝ FaceDancer 37 litres,
Step-up 6’8 20¼ 2 11/16 FaceDancer 37.94,
7’0 20¼ 2 11/16 DSCV 45.43 litres.
New dimensions for Bells – T&T 6’4 20⅝ 2¾ 37.42 litres, and FD 6’6 20⅝ 2 11/16 37 litres.
While in California last year I caught up with Shaun Tomson and we were discussing the problems for us of the take-off, and he assured me that by adding area to the nose plan shape and taking thickness thru to the nose tip in a 70’s or 80’s style beak nose that this was the answer.
Obviously as seen in the litres above by adding width, thickness and a beak nose thickness distribution you increase the volume fairly dramatically.
Surfed the 6’6 FD at 13th Beach in 2 to 4 feet plus and the T&T 6’4 at 2 to 4 feet Winkipop.
At 13th I was in good form having detoxed for a couple of weeks and lost 5 to 8 kilos/15 lbs in that time.
So the added volume was even more pronounced in the way the board glided in giving me a nice platform to transition to my feet.
As well as this I found that the forward thickness and all over added volume gave more momentum down the line, allowing me to bottom turn at speed and accelerate up the face to hit the lip with more force.
The downside was that to carve on the face tight in the pocket it did feel a little corky.
Obviously that is benefit of a more refined board, the ability to cut deeper.
From this initial experience a modification I can make to this board would be to keep the tail thickness and rail a little finer.
But I really liked the easy speed down line and the cutbacks on the face still felt good.
Winki round 2 – surfing the 6’6 FD in 4 to 5 feet with the occasional 6 footer. The board felt good, but with the increase in size and down the line speed I found the thicker FD’s rail was definitely too chunky to cut and hold as deep in the face thru turns as I wanted. It none the less felt good at times.
The 6’4 T&T board surfed at Winki in 2 to 4 feet onshore conditions at fairly high tide again was a revelation, I definitely glided into a few waves that on my old thinner T&T I would have missed.
The momentum down the line again was there.
I caught one set wave that broke down the reef uniformly allowing me to pick moments to hit the crumbly lip and the feeling of speed on tap to accelerate up the face at the right time was a joy.
I didn’t really have the opportunity to carve tight on the face, but none the less the T&T has a slightly finer tail and rail than the Face Dancer 6’6, and I guess because it is shorter as well felt more responsive.
T&T round 2 – I had a similar experience with the thicker 6’4 T&T in similar size Winki at 4 to 5 feet with some sneaker sets. With a little more face to work with the extra thickness was not my friend, although easy wave catching and speed down the line was good some carves were not responsive enough.
I have been going to my Face Dancer 6’8 when the waves are up a little, 4 to 6 feet and crowded, to give me the edge in paddling, but to be able to surf the new FD 6’6 thicker nose board instead in reef waves anyway with power and down-the-line speed to burn, I will need to refine it a little and reduce the volume over-all.
None the less, I will surf these 2 boards in Sydney beach breaks and see how they feel.